Shadows Rising

The Catacombs of Santa Cora, Part III

Maybe we should try and explore the catacombs...

Before anyone could even get a word in, the priestess cast a spell in dark elvish, and Ennet was knocked unconscious. In addition to the priestess, five ghouls made their way out of the coffin and engaged the rest of the group in a vicious battle. As they cut down one ghoul after another, the priestess focused her energies on Remulus and nearly killed him—in fact, the group believed him to be dead. But as the priestess turned to cast a powerful spell on Xylia, it mysteriously backfired, and brought Remulus back to the land of the living. Severely weakened, the priestess was easily dispatched—as she fell to the floor, Xylia attempted to interrogate her, although she passed on to the abode of the dead before Xylia could gain any useful information.

Several paladins immediately came into the room—they picked up Ennet and took her to the Place of Healing. The paladins told the group that they would do everything they could for Ennet, but that they couldn’t make any promises—they told the group to check in with them later to get an update on their attempts to heal her. Discouraged and unsure what to do next, the group decided to see if Crulamin had awakened from the deep trance he had fallen into back when they were first heading to the catacombs.

When they reached the spot where they had left Crulamin, they discovered that he had disappeared. This frustrated Grunt and Xylia, as it meant that Crulamin had wondered off with the urn they all had found back at their first encounter together in Santa Cora. Xylia dispatched her raven in order to find Crulamin, and the group began to debate what their next move should be. Grunt argued that they should head back into town in order to get fresh supplies, although most of the group seemed opposed to this idea.

As the conversation began to get heated, Remulus fell into a deep trance. After he awoke, and after some prodding by the group, he told them that the angels had visited him and told him that a horrible scourge was consuming the catacombs, and that they had to return immediately to help fight it off. Even in spite of this vision from the angels, Grunt insisted on heading back to the shops—the group relented only to find that they were all closed. Sensing there was no other alternative, they made their way back to the catacombs.

When they approached the guard shack, they noticed that many paladins were grabbing armor and swords and heading into the catacombs. They checked in on Ennet, but were told that she was still unconscious. Deciding that they should head into the catacombs, the guards gave them all armbands so that they would be identified as agents of the light—they headed back into the depths, uncertain of what they would find.

They made their way down the first four levels of the catacombs without incident—many small skirmishes had broken out on these levels, however, the paladins seemed to have things under control. Silence and darkness greeted them as they descended down into the fifth level—surveying the scene, they realized that no paladins had made their way down this far yet. Suddenly, as they approached the third intersection of the main path, they found themselves surrounded by many minions of the undead, looking to add them to their legions…


Xylia’s Thoughts

I’m proud to call myself an optimist, and even though I do not show it around those whom I do not know very well or do not trust – which to be frank this group is included in – I always tend to look for what went right to encourage myself. Some people view that as a childish trait, and it may in fact be. But what I truly love is that feeling when things do go right and your happiness is not spoiled by that sort of should-I-be-surprised? that pessimists may feel.

Recent events are a perfect example of this: this strange group that I have partnered with have found themselves – for the first time I can remember – with a bit of luck. And so of course, our depressingly toughened fighter; panicky, panophobic (or so it seems) cleric; ungrateful, shopaholic dwarf; and fear-me-puny-mortals ranger (who no one actually fears) all found themselves blindsided by what these types of people could never anticipate: things going right for once.

Right, of course, being a relative term. Very relative.

We still nearly got killed. Regardless of any good luck, we still very nearly drove each other into insanity. But some things improved.

I mean, how often, without any effort on your part, does your enemy immediately reverse the negative effects of their own spell? I have to admit to feeling pretty resigned to getting sliced into tiny, Xylia flavored bits, once the priestess turned out to be evil. But things turned out alright for us….or maybe I’m generalizing.

Things were not looking good for Ennet last we saw her. But what I seem to be the only one to have noticed is that Ennet is lucky as a long-term gladiator in Axis. She very nearly died in our last confrontation as well, which she does seem to have a nasty habit of doing, but she was saved by someone or something who decided to intervene. Not everyone will get a high-level intervention when they’re in bad shape, and by not everybody I mean almost nobody. And now, despite being yet again almost killed, our overly aggressive dark elvish friend (in the loosest definition of the word) find herself not yet dead. Still living, for however much longer.

And yet that brings up a question to myself: do I care? Ennet is tense beyond belief, liable to murder someone if they so much as look at her the wrong way, or even more likely, make them into a pair of boots. Or gloves. Or grant them some other form of not just death, but a slow, painful, merciless demise. And yet, I must say, she’s growing on me.

Our strange, dysfunctional group has exactly two females: her and myself. And while I have no problems with friendships or working with guys, I’m nonetheless more comfortable with girls. Intrinsic characteristic or unfortunate failing, you decide, but as my patience with Grunt is stretched to the limit, Ennet’s dire threats to our dwarf’s well being keep me laughing and sane. Before Crulamin randomly dropped unconscious, and he was incessantly flirting with either Ennet or myself (and I am a different species from him!) allied the two of us against him. And Ennet’s well controlled but nonetheless present fear as we entered the catacombs has me hoping she can completely vanquish her inner fear of the dark, or small spaces, or the undead, or whatever it is she dislikes so greatly. So maybe I do care. But tell you what I don’t nearly care so much about? Crulamin.

People in our group have a strange habit of randomly falling over just as we are about to begin a battle: Crulamin did it, Alleon did it, and now Ennet as well. However, Crulamin is the only one who did not get back up too much later, and now he is missing without a trace. While I do not have the suicidally noble tendencies of some paladins, I try to always care at least a little bit when something goes wrong for someone else. But now, I am too honest with myself to even pretend that I care in the slightest bit what happened to Crulamin. We knew him for all of a day, and in that time I do not believe he did anything at all to help us in any meaningful way. And he nearly pushed Ennet to murder – and not anyone other than himself would have been injured if he had continued to test our limits. The only thing that does worry me is that not just Crulamin in missing: everything in his pack is as well. And while that concerns Grunt for purely monetary reasons, that means that the urn that we found in the temple is gone, in unknown hands. All we know about that urn is that it is powerful and has a sample of this ancient dark elvish writing which we originally entered the catacombs to track down. None of those qualities make me any less uneasy about someone else having possession of it. I hope Asta can find him – she’s a smart bird, but one raven can only do so much.

Another thing that makes me uneasy is Remulus’ message from angels – or lack thereof. He told us almost nothing, and I don’t understand why he won’t tell us more, since it make no sense for there not to be more. However, at the time being, I have decided to let it rest, since antagonizing our cleric who is basically keeping us all alive is not the wisest course of action.

Speaking of antagonizing the cleric, I have noticed that Remulus seems to heal Grunt an inordinate number of times. And what I definitely have not noticed? Grunt thanking him. Or returning the favor. Or even acknowledging it at all. Though Remulus seems used to being rather on the side, he cannot have an infinite temper. I am almost hoping that he will confront Grunt on this – and not only out of concern for his poor little gnomish ego. Grunt is not even half as bad as Crulamin, but he is nonetheless getting on my nerves. After we heard the very small bit of information from Remulus that would send any sane person heading for the catacombs, and might send a saner person fleeing to the hills, Grunt wanted to go shopping. If those store had not been closed, and he had taken more than five freaking seconds to get his shopping done, then I would have held Ennet’s pack as she skinned Grunt alive and made him into dwarven-sized boots. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but it does get my point across. Maybe I’ll tell the half-sized shopaholic that next time, see how he reacts.

Now my optimism will be needed yet again: more undead! Just what we all needed to bring our stress levels down. And this time we have to face them without Ennet, unless something very strange happens, which means instead of her absorbing all the attacks from our enemies, other people are going to get hit. I’ll be optimistic and hope it’s Grunt.

Note from the player: For the record, in real life, Crulamin is great. It’s just fun to bash his character. Same thing with Grunt. And pretty much everyone, really. With the possible exception of our very sadistic GM…..just joking, of course. Congratulations, pseudo-God of our made-up world! And to Serine, too.


The Catacombs of Santa Cora, Part 3:

Ennet’s thoughts whilst half awake in the hospital ward:

Shuffling feet, so many feet. If only I could wake up, get up, I could stop the feet from moving; maybe make a pair of boots.
I wonder what is wrong, I have to get up, I have to wake up. I have to help. I have to get up. Have to stop the feet, so many, so many, so many feet.
Shuffling. Stop. I have to geT UP. GET UP! GET UP! GET GET GET UP! *Ennet’s eyes fluttered open.

Ennet’s thoughts after waking up in the hospital ward:

Xylia! Grunt! Alleon! Remulus! I have to help them! *grabs her stuff and runs out of the ward and into the catacombs.

jeremy_langill jeremy_langill

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